Name: Michael Fulton
Business:The Arnold AgencyPosition: President, Washington Office
Twitter:@hillrat1156Services You Offer
I perform a full range of government relations, public affairs and communications services for companies, associations, higher education, health systems and non-profit organizations. Creative staff in our West Virginia and Montana offices offer tremendous assistance and teamwork to any campaign or project.
Your Niche Area of Expertise
Federal funding strategies, and ways to help your organization advance its cause and reputation among the Administration, Congress and strategic partners.
How Did You Get Started in this Business?
I worked nearly 10 years on Capitol Hill, meeting hundreds of influential people and learning how government works to our advantage. I left the Hill in 1988 and began consulting with incredible results over the past two decades, regardless of which party controls Congress and the White House and how the economy is performing.
Do You Have Any Advice for Potential Clients?
Success in the nation’s capital remains first and foremost a people and relationship business. Hire smart people and spend time collaborating with them to serve your organization’s best interests. Do not be afraid to hold their hired lobbyists or communications firms to high expectations and ethical behavior (far too many clients are unhappy with their representation and do not know how to make a switch for the best.)
One of the dirty little secrets about public relations is that you don’t need to hire an outside firm to do it effectively. If you have the time and desire, you can easily run an effective PR campaign yourself – and save a lot of money. In fact, when companies hire us to run an earned media campaign, these are some of the most critical steps we take.
Establish a spokesperson. Someone at your organization needs to be able to field calls and answer questions from the media. Choose someone who is a clear writer, knowledgeable about your organization, and comfortable speaking to reporters on the phone.
Refine your message. If a reporter from the Wall Street Journal calls you, what will you say? Your talking points should be clearly defined on paper, so you don’t fumble when the big moment comes.
Build a list of journalists (and this should include influential bloggers). Chances are, there are only a limited number of journalists who really care about your industry and would be likely to write about your organization. In fact, there are probably fewer than 200 of these reporters. So make a list of them and keep it up-to-date.
Embrace Twitter. Follow your list of journalists on Twitter – and, if you have a good Twitter feed, invite them to follow you.
Establish yourself as a source. When appropriate, let those journalists know about your areas of expertise. When interesting stories break, offer yourself as a source of information for their articles.